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16 October 2014

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Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi, oddi wrth Catchphrase
Calennig (c)  National Museum of Wales
New Year's Day is calennig day in Wales. Photo taken 1906-1914.
( © National Museum of Wales)
It's surprising just how superstitious we are here in Wales. But when you look back a century or so, you'll find hundreds of superstitions. Here are just a few with Christmas and New Year associations.

  • Holly is a symbol of eternal life. Other evergreens to bring into your home this Christmas include ivy, rosemary, bay leaves and, of course, mistletoe.

  • Don't forget to bring in the plough and keep it under your dining table for the duration of the holiday.
  • If you take a candle to church this Christmas, don't bring it home, blow it out and leave it there with the vicar for good luck.

  • Don't try this at home, but some farmers used to cut their animals to make them bleed on Boxing Day. They thought that bloodletting would improve their livestock's health and stamina!

  • Mistletoe is a magical plant. It keeps evil spirits away as well as offering a good excuse to improve your love life.

  • Keep that Yule log blazing in your open fire. It's considered bad luck to light a fresh fire during the twelve days of Christmas.

  • Two tree-tips: don't throw green holly leaves on the fire or cut down an oak tree that has mistletoe growing on it.

New Year
  • On New Year's Day it's considered bad luck if the first visitor at your house has red hair. Best luck comes from a knock at the door by man you don't know with black hair.

  • Try to repay all debts and push the bank-balance into the black before the New Year. Tradition states that ending a year in debt means a whole new year of debt.

  • Lending anything - even a candle - on New Year's Day is considered unlucky.

  • If you make a calennig for New Year's Day, don't throw it away afterwards. Put it to stand on your window sill and it will bring you good luck for as long as it stands there.

  • If you burn a Yule log this Christmas, keep the ashes to bury along with your plant seeds in the spring. Superstition dictates that you'll be assured of a bumper crop.

  • Remember to take down every last Christmas decoration before the end of the evening of January 5th. It's seen as bad luck to keep trimmings up after Twelfth Night.
Learn Welsh with... Catchphrase 2002 - Catchphrase Lessons - Cam Ymlaen
Welsh Christmas